Hi, Frank Indiviglio here. I’m pleased to say that I’m now posting several notes (“Tweets”) on Twitter each day, 7 days a week. I’ve worked with everything from ants to elephants, and so much interesting info comes my way – a lot of it through other zoologists and my own activities. Twitter will make it easy to share this as well as breaking nature news and discoveries as they happen. Things I’ve noticed in my collection or as I’m wandering about in the field, newly discovered species, interesting tidbits passed on by others, my take on some of the day’s news items…anything and everything animal-related will be mixed in.
Monthly Archives: January 2010
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is surely one of the most recognizable birds on the planet. Images of this spectacular parrot adorn the brochures and T-shirts of travel agencies, zoos and aviaries worldwide. Less well-known, however, is its natural habits and precarious existence in the wild.
At 33.5 inches in length, and with a wingspan to match, this deep red (or scarlet!), yellow-shouldered bird is one of the world’s largest parrots.
Its huge range extends from Oaxaca in southern Mexico through Central America to Columbia, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, and east to French Guiana. Within this area, however, it is rare or absent from many locales, and may be extinct in El Salvador. Feral populations thrive in Puerto Rico and Florida.
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Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. As I write this from NYC it is not yet officially winter, but I’m looking out over waist-high snow drifts. So I’m inspired to consider a special treat for the visitors to my bird feeders, and one which finches, softbills and other pets relish as well – mealworms.
The Importance of Insects
A bag of Freeze Dried Mealworms is a very useful item for both pet keepers and wild bird enthusiasts to have on hand. Providing both calcium and much-needed protein, insects continue to figure in the diets of many birds even during the coldest months. Although not visible to us, insects are always about – some species hibernate, while others pass the winter as eggs or pupae. These are avidly sought by many typical feeder visitors, but especially Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Blue Jays and Juncos. Insects become especially important in late winter, when female birds need to increase their calcium stores in preparation for egg-laying.
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Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. For a somberly-colored bird, the Canary (Serinus canaria) has made quite an impression on us. Shipwrecks, vicious dogs and thievery all figured into the captive history (please see article below) of what is now the most popularly kept finch. Selective breeding has also resulted in an array of different types, some of which are barely recognizable as Canaries.
The First “Type” Canaries
Different Canary varieties (termed “types”) first developed quite by accident. Canaries arrived in Europe in 1478, when they were taken to Spain from their native habitat on several islands off Northwest Africa. As the Spanish sold only males and travel was difficult, Canary owners usually bred related birds to one another. This increased the likelihood of mutations, including the yellow coloring that is now considered to be the Canary’s “normal” color (wild Canaries are actually greenish-brown). Read More »